Past Productions

Ginsberg with a monkey; Benares India Spring 1963
Photo: AP
Jobs for the Girls
BBC World Service
We meet women in India who are taking on traditionally male jobs.
  Alan Kasujja visits Uganda
1990 Synchopation in Acrylic
  Blue Canvas: The Artist Miles Davis
  BBC Radio 4
Towards the end of his life the jazz trumpeter Miles Davis became a painter. We speak to those who knew him and a never-before-broadcast interview with Davis in his artists' studio. Read an article about Miles Davis's art works.

"This is a masterly essay, the story of how the great jazz trumpeter also became an artist, progressing from sketches to painted canvases that mirror the complexities of his music and the mental tortures of his life… just voices and music but exactly the right choice and mix of both by producer Jo Wheeler, a matching of style and subject that made this feature a real radio work of art.."


  Alan Kasujja visits Uganda
Photo: Media Might/Hawa Mago
  The Boda Boda Boom
  28th February 2016, 11.32am, BBC World Service
Alan Kasujja visits Uganda to discover how the boda boda - motorcycle taxi - has become intregral to the social and economic landscape of the country.

Ginsberg with a monkey; Benares India Spring 1963
Photo: Estate of Allen Ginsberg
Ginsberg in India
18th October 2015, BBC Radio 3

Following in the footsteps of beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Jeet Thayil retraces his journey through India in the early 1960s.
Sarah Lucas
Photo: PA / BBC
Sarah Lucas
at the Venice Biennale

28th May 2015, BBC Radio 4
With exclusive access to record with Sarah Lucas as she prepares for this year's Venice Biennale we present a rare and intimate radio portrait of one of Britain's most influential artists.

"Art sprang to life on Radio 4… Alastair Sooke’s excellent Radio 4 documentary about the artist Sarah Lucas at the Venice Biennale… brought us very close to Lucas and her work."


Frederic Raphael The Essay: Living Abroad
15 - 19 December 2014, BBC Radio 3

A new series of Essays by Frederic Raphael in which he explores the theme of exile from home, across five decades living across Europe.
Anita Rani
Photo: BBC
India's Forgotten War
26th October 2014, BBC World Service

As part of the BBC's First World War centenary programming, Anita Rani visits Delhi and Punjab to reveal India's overlooked role in the war, and explores the lives of those who volunteered from rural villages to fight thousands of miles away for a cause they knew little about. Historical consultant: Santanu Das.
  The Wire: Father, Son And Holy Ghost
  20th October 2012, 9.30-10.30pm. BBC Radio 3
Father, Son and Holy Ghost is a new play from award-winning playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah about a young, radical pastor whose rising church career is under threat. Starring David Harewood, Mona Hammond and Joseph Marcell.

Pastor T - a young, funky, self-taught pentecostal minister of an urban church - is well-known for taking no prisoners, and not just in his sermons. His biblical radicalism, youthful energy and street-smart image is attractive to young and old alike, and he has helped build up a thriving church community.

Originally 'saved' from prison life by the church bishop, Pastor T is next in line to take over when the older man retires. The pastor suspects the bishop of financial misdealings, putting his conflicting loyalties to the test. And when one of Pastor T's young church pupils is threatened on the street, he takes some radical action which threatens his future at the church.

Other cast includes: Charles Mnene, Colin McFarlane and Ben Onwukwe, with sound by Alisdair McGregor and Howard Jaques. Music from the CK Gospel Choir. Produced and Directed by Jo Wheeler.
Kwame Kwei-Armah
Photo: BBC

"…tough but brilliant"


"The director (Jo Wheeler) should win a Sony"


  Music Weekly podcast: Little Dragon
  22 July 2011. Presented by Alexis Petridis
Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano on playing with Gorillaz and their new album; music from Zomby, Little Roy and Washed Out; plus Jude Rogers and Rob Fitzpatrick discuss the Mercury prize shortlist.
Atomic States
  11th and 18th July 2011. BBC World Service
BBC Environment correspondent Richard Black presents a two-part series exploring the history and likely future of the nuclear energy industry.

In part one he explores how it all began and why we ended up going with the nuclear technology we did. After President Eisenhower's 'Atoms for Peace' speech the race for safe, commercial nuclear energy took off on a global scale, but did the first atomic nations develop the best and safest technologies possible, or have they left the world with a ticking bomb?
Richard Black
Photo: BBC
In part two Richard compares how two very different nations are approaching the nuclear landscape in the wake of Fukushima: Germany and the United Arab Emirates. We report on how Germany's nuclear policy plays out over the coming weeks as Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for an end to nuclear energy in Germany. By contrast Richard visits the UEA as its prepares to go nuclear with enthusiasm and optimism for the role of atomic power in a modern, hi-tech Middle East.
Guardian Science Weekly Podcast:
Science fiction, and the age of astronomy
  23 May 2011. Presented by Alok Jha
Author of The Sky's Dark Labyrinth Stuart Clark explores the early days of astronomy. Plus, Ian Sample discusses his explosive interview with Stephen Hawking, and we review a new science fiction exhibition.
Guardian Science Weekly Podcast:
The human era, and war without tears
  16 May 2011. Presented by Alok Jha
Have humans changed the Earth to such an extent, we have created a new geological era: the Anthropocene? Plus, the uses of neuroscience in war.
A Thousand Kisses
  Sunday 10th April 2011. BBC Radio 3
A new play by Oscar-winning writer Fredric Raphael about the Roman poet Catullus.
Gaius Catullus was one of the the greatest Roman lyric poets - who lived fast and died young. Prized by some for his sincerity and chastised by others for crudeness he has influenced generations of writers and thinkers from Ovid, Horace and Virgil to Thornton Wilder and Louis MacNiece.

"Rolls Royce drama.... a treat"


  In this new play, Catullus's mysterious world is brought to life, drawing on a series of love poems at the centre of his oeuvre - based on evidence that the woman in the poems ('Lesbia') was Claudia Metelli, the sister of the notorious senator Publius Clodius Pulcher, and one of the most notorious and attractive women in Rome.
Frederic Raphael A Thousand Kisses features Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the spirited young poet who moves to Rome in search of the high life and falls for the beautiful and sophisticated Clodia (Raquel Cassidy), the wife of a powerful Roman aristocrat.

Narrated by Geoffrey Palmer and weaving Raphael's own translations of Catullus's poetry into the drama, A Thousand Kisses imagines the complex love affair and Catullus's life as a rebellious young poet in the late Roman Republic of Cicero, Pompey and Caesar (Malcolm Sinclair).

Producer: Jo Wheeler
Director: Pete Atkin
Guardian podcast: The securitisation of aid
  February 2011. Presented by Madeleine Bunting
Are military priorities distorting aid budgets? A panel of experts discuss the relationship between the UK's development budget and the country's foreign policy objectives.
2050 An Earth Odyssey
  December 20 – January 3. BBC World Service
BBC environment correspondent Richard Black explores some of the possible solutions to big environmental issues the planet faces over the next four decades. In part one - how large scale geoengineering might affect the climate.  Speaking to scientists developing ways to reduce CO2 or global warming using large scale technology, Black asks whether we could expect a future where huge mirrors in space, or artificial cloud whitening will help tackle climate change.
2050 An Earth Odyssey
Photo: BBC
By 2050 its predicted there will be over 9 billion people on the earth. In part two Richard explores some of the biggest advances in fish farming and looks at its likely future as a way to feed the planet, and in the final part looks at the economic schemes being proposed to help save threatened biodiversity, by putting a monetary value on our natural resources.
  Minimum Wage Guardian Podcast
  October 2010
Jon Henley presented this Guardian podcast looking at the Minimum wage.

Listen to the podcast here.

  Chopin 200. The Essay.
  March 1-5, BBC Radio 3, 23.00
Pianist and broadcaster Piers Lane presented this series of essays looking at five aspects of Chopin’s life and music to celebrate two hundred years since the composer’s birth. Drawing on extracts from the composer’s own writing, scores and those who have written about him over the past two hundred years Piers took a personal looks at the myths, interpretations and veneration surrounding one of the most universally adored pianist/composers.
  Piers Lane Frederic Chopin
  The essays explore how, despite being labelled as the archetypal Romantic pianist, Chopin resisted the label throughout his life. He will also look at how the composer innovated form and style on the piano, the instrument on which he focused so exclusively; Chopin’s often overlooked role as one of the most sought after teachers in Paris; his composing process, interpretations of his music; and the veneration from audiences and other composers that has always surrounded him.

>> Visit the official Piers Lane website.

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